2012. 20 (2)



Fajfer M.

About author:

Fajfer M., Department of Animal Morphology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Faculty of Biology, Umultowska 89, 61–614 Poznan, Poland


A brief review of acari parasitizing reptiles (Reptilia) was presented. Reptilian mites are represented by 15 families of temporary and permanent parasites which belong to 3 orders: Mesostigmata (Entonyssidae, Heterozerconidae, Ixodorhynchidae, Laelapidae, Macronyssidae, Omentolaelapidae, Paramegistidae), Metastigmata (Amblyommidae, Argasidae, Ixodidae) and Prostigmata (Cloacaridae, Harpirhynchidae, Leeuwenhoekiidae, Pterygosomatidae, Trombiculidae). The main aspects of hostparasite relationships were analyzed. Acari of six families (Acariformes: Cloacaridae, Harpirhynchidae, Pterygosomatidae and Parasitiformes: Entonyssidae, Ixodorhynchidae, Omentolaelapidae), i.e. 242 species were recorded as permanent parasites of reptiles. All hosts of these mites are summated in table format. The obtained results indicated that host-specificity among acari- form mites is higher than that one in Parasitiformes. Differences in specificity between permanent endoparasitic and ectoparasitic mites were not significant. Most ectoparasitic mites occur under the host’s scales or in sites not reached by itching activities of the reptiles e.g. the ear canals or elbow joints. Endoparasites live in the respiratory passages of their reptilian hosts or in the host cloaca and muscles. Available data show that permanent parasites are characterized by the low prevalence index (IP) while IP of temporary parasites is high. The effect of mites on host fitness is unclear. Most studies showed that acari may cause various diseases and debilitation in reptiles e.g. anemia, reduced activity or dermatitis what is very marked in captive collections of reptiles. Additionally, species belonging to five families, i.e. Amblyommidae, Argasidae, Ixodidae, Macronyssidae, and Pterygosomatidae were recorded as vectors of many pathogens.


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